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Washington news in brief

by Frank E. Lockwood | August 1, 2021 at 4:58 a.m.

2 more people put

on religious panel

WASHINGTON -- The White House announced Friday that Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of New York City and attorney Khizr Khan of Charlottesville, Va., would be joining the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Jim Carr, a commissioner from Conway, said he had already reached out to Khan and portrayed him as a welcome addition.

"His interest in Religious Freedom and his extensive background in law will certainly serve him well on the Commission. No doubt, being a gold star parent, who lost his son in Iraq, will give an added dimension to his service," Carr said in a text message.

Khan, who is Muslim, spoke about love of country and reverence for the Constitution during a high-profile 2016 speech at the Democratic National Convention.

After Donald Trump's election as president, Khan repeatedly condemned efforts to sharply restrict immigration from predominantly Islamic nations.

Carr, who was named to the commission in February 2020 and subsequently reappointed, is a a former executive vice president and professor of business at Harding University,

U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Ark., had recommended him for the position.

Kleinbaum, the spiritual leader at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, "was a commissioner when I was first appointed but had to drop off when her synagogue was seriously impacted by covid," Carr said. "She already has a good working knowledge of USCIRF."

15th report issued

on CARES funding

The Congressional Oversight Commission issued its 15th report Friday, providing an update on "implementation of Division A, Title IV, Subtitle A of the CARES Act" by the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve.

U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Ark., and U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., are the only two members remaining on what was initially supposed to be a five-member body.

Former U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala, D-Fla., resigned effective May 1 after losing her bid for reelection in November.

The other Democrat on the commission, Bharat Ramamurti, stepped down after being named National Economic Council deputy director.

The commission never had a chairman. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., were unable to find someone to take the position that was acceptable to both sides.

The commission continues to seek information about a $700 million loan to Yellow Corp. (formerly YRC Worldwide), the report noted.

The trucking company was given a loan designed for "national security businesses," the commission noted.

The commission sent a letter May 10 "requesting additional documents regarding the loan made to Yellow" but "has not yet received a response from the Secretary of Defense," the report stated.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which created the commission, included $500 billion for a U.S. Treasury Department fund -- money that was earmarked for business loans, loan guarantees and other investments.

Under the law, the commissioners are supposed to evaluate efforts by the U.S. Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve System board of governors "to provide economic stability as a result of the coronavirus disease 2019 (covid-19) pandemic of 2020."

Cotton set to court

firms he criticized

Nearly 10 months after warning "the big tech oligarchs" that "winter is coming," U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., is reportedly heading to the Silicon Valley to raise campaign cash.

Teddy Schleifer of The Stratosphere reports that Cotton will attend a breakfast fundraiser Aug. 13 in Menlo Park, Calif., followed by a lunch in San Francisco, Twitter's hometown.

An evening event is scheduled in a Nevada town on Lake Tahoe, just across the state line.

Guests can attend the breakfast for $2,500, according to an invitation posted by Schleifer; for $5,000, they can be one of the co-hosts.

Twitter was condemned by Cotton and others in October for locking the New York Post out of its own account to stymie the spread of a story about Hunter Biden, the son of now-President Joe Biden.

At the time, Cotton on Fox Business accused "big tech oligarchs" of declaring war on the Republican Party and conservatives.

"Look at what the left wing wants to do in Washington. They want to break up these companies. Do these companies think that Republicans are going to come to their defense when they are censoring our voters across the heartland? Hardly so. So my message, once again, to the big tech oligarchs is: 'Winter is coming.'"

The Cotton campaign declined to provide any details Friday about his fundraising trip to the Golden State.


Planning to visit the nation's capital? Know something happening in Washington, D.C.? Please contact Frank Lockwood at (501) 908-5204 or Want to get the latest from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Washington bureau? It's available on Twitter, @LockwoodFrank.

CORRECTION: Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., was formerly the Senate majority leader. An earlier version of this story incorrectly described his role.

Print Headline: 2 more people put on religious panel 15th report issued on CARES funding Cotton set to court firms he criticized


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